Practice Ballroom and Latin Dance Music Sampler
One of the great things about Latin and Ballroom dancing is the wide variety of dance music used for the ten or so dances. Not only does the music come from various countries around the world, but it can also come from classical to contemporary sources. Dancing to this music helps you rediscover or even discover timeless songs and may broaden your musical appreciation.
The music used has a variety of time signatures and a variety of tempos. One usually learns and practices new dance steps to a slower track, and then gradually build up the tempo to the full speed.
Each dance style has a mood or feeling which the songs need in order to sound right. Other factors such as which beats in each bar are the strongest help determine the classification of a track.
To give prospective students a taster of the range of music we dance to, and so that existing students can download appropriate music to practise to at home, we have picked out a track or two for the dances we teach. The links are provided so you can listen to the samples and buy the tracks if you want.
We hope you enjoy our choices. This is a tiny sample of the music we play at our classes and dances. There really is something for everybody.On that note, if you have any suggestions for suitable tracks please email us or use the contact form the title and artist so we can listen to the track. We might soon be playing it at our classes and dances. Thanks.
Waltz Dance Music
Waltzes are in 3/4 time (three beats in each bar). To dance the modern waltz, the tempo should be between 28 and 30 bars per minute. Musicians of all styles compose tunes in 3/4 time, and the tunes tend to be either romantic or sad. Here’s a Waltz that’s a bit of both. It’s nice and slow making it ideal for beginners.
He’ll Have to Go – Jim Reeves (slow, beginners tempo)
Quickstep Dance Music
Quickstep is the second fastest ballroom dance with a tempo between 46 and 50 bars per minute. Quickstep is a close relative of the Charleston from the 1920s and feels just right with brassy big band music with a strong drum beat but also works well with contemporary tracks like this.
This Is the Life – Amy MacDonald (slowish quickstep)
There are two varieties of foxtrot, this one being slightly faster (30 to 33 bars per minute) and jazzier than the slow foxtrot. Many songs by crooners like Frank Sinatra or the modern day singer Michael Bublé typify the foxtrot sound.
Come fly with me – Michael Buble
Slow Foxtrot Dance Music
The slow foxtrot is arguably the classiest of all the ballroom dances and is danced between 28 and 30 bars per minute. These are the smooth sort of songs you could cooly snap your fingers to.
Why don’t you do right? – Sinead O’Connor
Cha Cha Cha Dance Music
The cha cha cha is danced to upbeat but not overly fast music around 28 to 30 bars per minute. The original Cuban style music still works well, but quite a lot of contemporary pop songs have the necessary tempo and syncopated beats to get your feet moving.
Represent, Cuba – The Latin Chart Stars (slow, beginners tempo)
Rumba Dance Music
The rumba is danced to slower songs around 24 to 26 bars per minute, and the mood of the song definitely has to be romantic. The track we are suggesting for the rumba is a double treat as not only is it a beautiful rendition of a great song (which is often performed as a foxtrot or waltz ) but it is sung by Agnetha Fältskog from ABBA.
Fly Me to the Moon – Agnetha Fältskog
Tango Dance Music
The traditional distinctive sound features violins, piano, double bass, bandoneóns (accordions) and sometimes drums. The dance is full of staccato movements and is about passion, so naturally the music should match this. Ballroom tango is danced between 30 and 33 bars per minute.
Tango in the Park – Vito Di Salvo
Salsa Dance Music
Salsa is danced to a wide range of musical styles typically between 42 and 50 bars per minute. Here is a strong percussive track which blends Latino, Jazz, Reggae and Turkish influences. One of our favourites from 2006/7.
Ahi Na’Ma Kaynana – Ayhan Sicimoglu (mid tempo)
Samba Dance Music
Samba, the dance from Brazil, is the fastest of the Latin dances at around 50 bars per minute. Drums, small bells and whistles from carnival parades come to mind, but a wide and sometimes unexpected range of songs work well as sambas, including several by R&B divas like Alexandra Burke.
Start Without You – Alexandra Burke (slowish tempo)
Jive Dance Music
Jive has probably the widest usable range of tempos and is danced from a manageable 32 bars per minute up to a breathless 45 bars per minute. We rarely go over 40 bars per minute at our dances! It has the instantly recognisable percussive accent on the 2nd and 4th beats in the bar, once again making you click your fingers and tap your feet.
Baby Workout – Jackie Wilson (mid tempo, 36 bars/minute)
A Fast Jive Track.
Dance with Me Tonight – Olly Murs (very lively 40 bars/minute)
Viennese Waltz Dance Music
The Viennese waltz, can be danced at a tempo up to 60 bars per minute, which is twice the speed of the waltz or three steps every second! It is a fast dance, and when learning it you need something a little slower.
I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz (slow practice, best after approximately 1′ 40”)